Having a child partake in athletic events can be fun and instill a sense of pride in parents, but sporting events are inherently dangerous. According to the American Dental Assistants Association, there is a 1 in 10 chance your child could suffer a facial or dental injury in a single season.
What types of oral injuries should I look out for?
- Tooth fracturing or loss
- Tooth intrusion in which the tooth gets jammed into the alveolar, or the tooth socket. These types of injuries can occur with permanent teeth.
- Enamel erosion
- Broken or fractured jaw
- Lacerations from braces and/or teeth
In the case of modern dentistry, most oral injuries can be easily repaired. That being said, proactive is always preferable to reactive.
While not fully preventing facial and oral injuries, mouth-guards are one of the easiest preventatives a parent could provide their child. With that in mind, not all mouth-guards are created equal. Over-the-counter bought mouth-guards form to the teeth by boiling the plastic in hot water and biting down on it to form a mold. The downfall is that they will not fit your child’s teeth as perfectly as a custom made guard. Over-the-counter purchased mouth-guards have one thickness which results in discomfort, inhibits the ability to speak and breathe easily nor do they offer maximum protection.
Palm Valley Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics offer an in-house custom made mouth-guard that provides the most secure fit with varying levels of thickness that is based on your child’s individual need for protection. Light, comfortable and safe, custom mouth-guards are the easiest and most effective way to protect your child’s mouth. Cutting edge technology with an iTero digital scanner allows for a noninvasive method in obtaining the image needed to create the mouth-guard. The image is then sent to a 3D printer which cuts the turnaround time down to only a few hours. T
That Attach to Helmets
As straightforward as it may seem, helmets provide excellent protection for the head, face and, in some cases, neck. Adding a plastic or metal face-guard to the helmet drastically decreases the chance for facial injury during play. Bear in mind that a mouth-guard should still be worn, even if the rules don’t call for it. Risk could result in injury or financial loss.
Enamel erosion cannot be combated with mouth-guards and helmets, but it is highly preventable. Encourage your child to partake in safe and frequent oral hygiene practices such as brushing their teeth regularly with a soft bristled brush and flossing. Alcohol free mouthwashes are available to avoid the uncomfortable sting when using them. Ask your child’s dentist which products they recommend to provide the best protection and strength.
What to do in Case of Emergency
Dental emergencies should not be ignored. In cases of fractured or broken teeth, retrieve the pieces if able and rinse your child’s mouth with warm water. Apply a cold compress to relieve swelling and contact Palm Valley Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics practice right away. If the child lost consciousnesses during the trauma, take your child to the emergency room.
If an injury results in a permanent tooth avulsion, replace the tooth in the socket after thoroughly cleaning the root and rinsing the socket with a gentle saline solution. Have your child gently bite down onto a handkerchief, or something similar, in attempt to keep the tooth in place. Immediately go to the dentist or emergency room for further medical assistance.
Injuries involving soft tissue, such as lacerations on the tongue, cheeks or gums, should be treated with a mild salt water rinse. Use gauze, or a tea bag if no gauze is available, to apply pressure to the wound to control bleeding. If the bleeding does not stop, immediately go to the hospital or dentist while continuing to apply pressure. To treat pain, use a cold compress to the afflicted area.
As a parent, it’s almost impossible to watch your child 24/7. It is important to share with them what injuries could occur and how to avoid them. Discuss proper protection and emergency protocol so they too can be prepared. Getting your child involved is key to their safety and your peace of mind.
For more information about custom mouth-guards and who to call during an emergency, contact Palm Valley Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics practices in Surprise,
Goodyear, Buckeye AZ. You can also book appointments online or over the phone.